Santiago Ponzinibbio is one of the fastest-rising welterweights in the world and he wants his chance to KO the champion.
Ponzinibbio moved one step closer to his dream of becoming the welterweight champion last night (Nov. 17, 2018) as he defeated Neil Magny in the main event of UFC Argentina.
The 32-year-old capped a solid overall performance with a knock out in the fourth round. The fight-ending sequence brought the 10,000 plus fans in the Luna Park Arena to their feet. Ponzinibbio vowed to become the welterweight champion in 2019. He also expressed an interest in taking on current champ Tyron Woodley, who just so happened to be working the FOX Sports 1 desk on Saturday.
Woodley responded simply by telling the Argentinian to “keep winning” if he wants a shot. Ponzinibbio was informed of the response at the post-fight press conference and he offered his own take on the situation.
“In regards to Woodley, I understand fully why he says that he wants to hold on to his title as long as possible,” Ponzinibbio said, via a translator. “He knows that if he does fight me, I’m going to knock him out. I’m going to take it. So he wants to keep extending his reign for as long as he can and that’s why he keeps saying that I still have a long way to go.”
With his win Saturday night, Ponzinibbio now boasts a seven-fight win streak. That is the second longest streak in the division. Only Kamaru Usman has won more in a row with eight. The two could potentially meet in a spoilers bout. However, Usman must first take care of business against Rafael dos Anjos at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale on Nov. 30.
It seems likely the winner of that bout could face Ponzinibbio in a No. 1 contender’s bout next.
“It would be a great fight to fight one of those victors, between the Dos Anjos-Usman fight,” Ponzinibbio said. “It’s not math, it’s not just the numbers, the division shifts a lot, but it would be a great fight and I’m really looking forward to one of those.”
Ponzinibbio called out dos Anjos earlier this year in an effort to get RDA in the Octagon in Argentina. Though dos Anjos wanted to fight closer to home due to a pregnant wife. However, Ponzinibbio believes its all excuses. Ponzinibbio admitted he has nothing against dos Anjos. He only targeted the former champion because of his ranking.
“I fought in Canada with Canadians, I fought in Europe with Europeans, so I don’t know why he refused to fight in Argentina,” Ponzinibbio said. “He’s gone to Brazil a million times, so I don’t know why he would refuse this fight.
“I think I deserve a top-five fight and I think after tonight’s victory I might climb to that position. As for a title shot, I’m looking for that all the way, maybe it will be one more fight before that, but that’s my objective going forward.”
As for main eventing UFC Argentina, Ponzinibbio couldn’t be happier at the way everything turned out. And the top-ranked welterweight is overjoyed at how his country has taken to the sport of MMA. Ponzinibbio hopes to bring the Octagon back soon.
“I’m thrilled to see how the sport has grown so much and how the recognition has grown so much in this country,” Ponzinibbio said. “I’m going to keep helping to develop that to expand it further in this country, i’m going to give seminars and classes. I really think a sport expands and really helps people in their lives. So I’m thrilled to see that in our country.”
Ponzinibbio definitely showed out in his home country last night. Let us know what you think. Does “Gente Boa” deserve a title shot right now? Or should he face the winner of the RDA/Usman fight in a title eliminator bout?